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Sunday, May 12, 2024

Links - 12th May 2024 (1)

Viewpoint: Uncomfortable realities of big game hunting - "Following Cecil's death, many have called for a blanket ban on trophy hunting. Calls for a ban come from a number of different directions.  For some, there is a moral objection to the killing of animals for pleasure, for others an understandable emotional response to images of hunters posing with their kills or concerns over conservation.  But calls for a blanket ban on trophy hunting fail to take into account the complex relationship between hunting and conservation. Some trophy kills are hard to justify no matter which side of the fence you sit on. Leopard for example are a CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Appendix I species. Such species are threatened with extinction and the commercial trade in wild-caught specimens is illegal. Despite this, it is still possible to hunt one "on trophy" (subject to quotas) for personal, non -commercial purposes.  Another hunting practice that has come under the spotlight is "canned hunting" of lions. There is considerable confusion between, and conflation of, trophy hunting and canned hunting. Canned hunting, where captive bred lions are released into small enclosures to be hunted in a "no kill no fee" arrangement, "hits the bottom of the barrel" according to Will Travers, President of wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation. Largely based in South Africa, the welfare issues involved in canned hunting, which include severe over-crowding and inadequate access to food and water, have recently been exposed by environmental film maker Ian Michler in his film Blood Lions.  However, as lion conservation expert and author of Lions in the Balance: Man-eaters, Manes and Men with Guns, Professor Craig Packer, says: "These animals are not part of the wild population and so, there's no real immediate impact on conservation… I view canned hunting mostly as an animal welfare issue."  Many sought-after trophy animals, such as kudu and impala, are maintained in large numbers across Southern Africa, especially South Africa, within large, fenced, privately-owned reserves. Animal numbers need to be controlled to prevent over-stocking and over-grazing. Surplus animals are harvested for meat but larger males can generate far more revenue if they're taken by a trophy hunter.  The taking of trophy animals in such reserves is of limited conservation concern and the money generated helps to pay for the management that is required to keep reserves in good condition.  In fact, the impact of trophy hunting depends on the species and the region being considered. So the past few decades in South Africa have seen a landscape-level replacement of cattle farming with wildlife farming. As a consequence: "Southern Africa's seen large scale recoveries of wildlife in the 20th century, built around hunting," says Rosie Cooney, who heads the IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group.  Trophy hunting of many species was, and continues to be, vital in funding this reversal and a blanket ban there is neither needed nor desirable. This "consumptive utilisation of wildlife" model ("it pays it stays") also works well in some other regions. The Bubye Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe for example has more than 400 lions and one of the most important populations of rhino still in existence.  The Conservancy is funded entirely by hunting and, according to the reserve manager Blondie Leathem, a ban would be "devastating".  However, trophy hunting is not always beneficial for wildlife. Over-harvesting can clearly have a detrimental effect on numbers.  Also, trophy hunters select large males and this can have more profound effects on the breeding dynamics of animals in that region. These problems are greatest when land is not stably owned and a "tragedy of the commons" (when everyone harvests as much as they can for short-term gain) can result. It is tempting to suggest that hunting could be replaced by tourism and in some places this is indeed the case. However, as Rosie Cooney points out, tourism is only possible in regions that "are accessible…a few hours generally from a major hub…with good roads".  They also need to be safe, "lacking in dangerous diseases….and politically stable". There needs to be the infrastructure to look after tourists and you need capital to invest in it. Many hunting concessions operate successfully in areas where none of these conditions are in place, at least for now. The pro-hunting argument is simple. Hunting provides revenue that directly funds conservation. Anti-hunters often claim that this hunting-conservation link doesn't stand up to scrutiny. The problem in deciding whether hunting is beneficial or not is that both sides are right.  How can both sides be right? The answer to that lies in the fact that Africa is not a single entity...  In some regions hunting is vital for conservation. In such regions "it pays it stays" works and a ban would be detrimental to wildlife... It is interesting that the killing of a single lion by a wealthy, white, American attracted so much attention.  As Will Travers explains: "I don't think we should fool ourselves that it's all about trophy hunting. Lions are threatened by habitat loss, habitat fragmentation…human activities that disperse and displace lions [and] the loss of prey species." There are few true wildernesses left, and as the human population in Africa expands, conflict between humans and wildlife gets ever greater. Far more lions are killed by cattle herders defending their livestock and their families than by trophy hunters. Don't forget, in the UK, we long ago killed our apex predators so that we could sleep soundly."
When charismatic megafauna meet the racist hatred of white people

Three men rescued off island due to beach 'HELP' sign - "Three men were rescued by the US Coast Guard off an island in Micronesia after they sent out a plea for "HELP" using palm tree leaves.  They spelled out "HELP" with the leaves, which led to the rescue nine days after they left on a sailing trip.  They had been reported missing after failing to return from a journey to Pikelot Atoll - an uninhabited coral island about 415 miles from Guam.  It is the second time in four years people were rescued from the island. The Coast Guard said in a statement that the three experienced mariners, all unnamed men in their 40s, had embarked on their sailing trip from Polowat Atoll - an island that is a part of the Federated States of Micronesia... Though uninhabited, Pikelot Atoll is often temporarily visited by hunters and fishermen. It has also been the site of another rescue in recent years.  In 2020, three Micronesian mariners were saved - by the Australian Defence Force - after spelling out "SOS" on the beach"

Tharman Shanmugaratnam: Singapore picks a president who could've been much more - "Ironically he has also blown apart the argument for a key PAP racial policy.  Prior to the presidential election in 2017, the government passed laws ensuring some polls would be restricted to minority race candidates. They argued the rules were needed to ensure better representation of minorities in Singapore, which include Malays, Indians, and Eurasians.  Those rules did not apply this time, so Mr Tharman has proven that a minority race candidate can win under their own steam - and resoundingly so."

Meme - "Watching Tom and Jerry as a kid: Haha! This is so funny. Teach Tom a lesson, Jerry.
Watching it now: Leave poor Tom alone. He did nothing to deserve this, YOU RAT."

Meme - "God can't exist because of Eric The God-Eating Magic Penguin. Since Eric is God-Eating by definition, he has no choice but to eat God. So, if God exists, He automatically ceases to exist as a result of being eaten. Unless you can prove that Eric doesn't exist, God doesn't exist. Even if you can prove that Eric doesn't exist, that same proof will also be applicable to God. There are only two possibilities: either you can prove that Eric doesn't exist or you can't. In both cases it logically follows that God doesn't exist."
A parody of the usual "proofs" for the Christian god, which rely on stacking the deck

Wisconsin man who killed son, 5, over cheesecake gets 20 years - "Travis Stackhouse, 30, was sentenced Tuesday for the 2019 death of 5-year-old Sir Ameer, who reportedly died from a ruptured stomach and other injuries after his father got violent with him for having one piece of cake Stackhouse received on Father’s Day"

Girl, 14, was 'groomed, murdered and ground into kebab meat' - but her family's nightmare isn't over - "HEARTBROKEN Karen Downes' head span as she struggled to cope with the enormity of the words spoken in the crowded courtroom.   Moments after hearing her 14-year-old daughter Charlene had most likely been murdered, cut up and ground into kebab meat, Karen fled, throwing up in a nearby toilet... Charlene disappeared into the bright lights of Blackpool on November 1, 2003, never to be seen again.   Cops believe the teenager was the victim of sexual exploitation, swapping sex for bags of chips after being groomed by a gang of mainly Asian men.  She made 13 visits to a sexual health clinic in the two years before she vanished... Cops believe Charlene was murdered within hours of disappearing in Blackpool city centre.   Her murder uncovered a dark side of the faded seaside town after a police report revealed Charlene was one of 60 girls - some as young as eleven - who had been groomed by takeaway workers. The girls were given food and cigarettes in exchange for sex acts. Detectives allege that Charlene has been strangled and dismembered, and that her killers joked about having turned her flesh into kebab meat and her bones into tiling grout - after she threatened to blow the whistle on them.  In 2007, Iyad Albattikhi, then 27, who ran the Funny Boyz takeaway in Blackpool, was charged with Charlene’s murder. His landlord and business partner Mohammed Reveshi was charged with helping him dispose of her body.  They went on trial in May 2007 when the jury was played taped conversations in which it was alleged Iyad had joked that he killed the girl, that she was ‘chopped up’ and her body had ‘gone into the kebabs’.  The jury failed to reach a verdict and a retrial was also dropped after a police watchdog found the investigation by Lancashire Constabulary was ‘handled unprofessionally’ and plagued by a ‘catalogue of errors’."

Meme - Your Dasher: "Your chat with *** has ended because your order was reassigned. You can now chat with your new Dasher
your food was destroyed by an altercation between your first dasher and BJ's staff. they are refusing to remake the order."

Lo-fi Republican on X - "Feel like the endless DoorDash discourse on here often fails to note how extremely unpleasant delivery drivers are now. Most are either stoned and extremely slovenly burnouts or fresh off the boat immigrants, both typically drive a beater car filled with trash. It's mentally ill to pay premium costs to have your food transported like that"
SW on X - "DoorDash created jobs for the most unemployable members of society. It’s no surprise it’s a complete shit show. “Make money on your own time with no boss” is bound to attract the lowest members of society."

Meme - SIMPLICIUS Ѱ @simpatico771: "⚡️Battlefield science has been advanced in the SMO. It was discovered that soldiers with big a gut have far higher survivability rate due to the slanted nature of the armor. Just like in WW2 when the T-34 pioneered angled armor to deflect shells.  Major achievement of technology."

Meme - Victor Edet: "IF you allow your male child to dress like a Crim!nal he may grow up and become one. If you allow your daughter to dress like a harlOt she may grow up and become a prost!tute. You reap what you sow."
Keywords: criminal, harlot, prostitute

Yann LeCun on X - "WhatsApp vs iMessage is the new metric vs imperial. The entire world uses WhatsApp, save a few people who  are iPhone-clutching Americans or from a country where WhatsApp is banned (like China). Yet iMessage users will actually claim it's objectively better, just like they will claim that Farenheit is intrinsically better than Celsius and inch better than cm, whereas it's just that they grew up with it."

Meme - "Doritos winerie chip $1,000
Making nachos, found weird wiener chip. Don't low ball me, I know what I got. $1,000 obo"

brb = big round boobsicles
lol = lactate on, losers!
smh = super mega honkers
tbh = those boobles humongous!
tfw = tiddies, fucking wonderful
stfu = shawty, those funbags unforgettable"

Meme - "Cops beat Chinese man after asking for his name
"I've lost all faith in our police" says Fuk Yu"

Meme - wanye @wanyeburkett: "Maybe the most important thing you learn by attending public school is that we are all at the mercy of the bottom quintile. The rules you follow in life will be based on the behavior of the bottom quintile, the taxes you pay are to support the bottom quintile, the greatest risks to your life and property will come from the bottom quintile, the dearth of comfortable public spaces is because you have to allow the bottom quintile to be there, our zoning laws are developed for fear of the bottom quintile. Probably best to learn and accept this early."

Lunchables have concerning levels of lead and sodium, Consumer Reports finds - CBS News - "None of the kits exceeded legal or regulatory limits, but five of 12 tested products would expose someone to 50% or more of California's maximum allowable amount of lead, or cadmium heavy metals that can cause developmental and other problems in kids, CR found... "The kits provide only about 15% of the 1,600 daily calories that a typical 8-year-old requires, but that small amount of food puts them fairly close to the daily maximum limit for lead," stated Eric Boring, a CR chemist who led the testing. "So if a child gets more than half of the daily limit for lead from so few calories, there's little room for potential exposure from other foods, drinking water or the environment.""

Meme - "I have 5 more players to unlock *black basketball players with indistinct faces*"

The Ordeal of Guillaume Le Gentil - "In 1760, Le Gentil was commissioned by the French Academy of Sciences to observe the 1761 transit of Venus from Pondicherry, India. Sailing from France in March 1760, he arrived on the Isle de France (Mauritius) in July where he learned that war had broken out between France and Britain preventing further passage east. In February 1761, he was finally able to secure passage. Despite the upcoming monsoon season, he was assured that he could reach Pondicherry by mid-April in plenty of time for the transit on June 6. Unfavorable winds blew his ship off course, so it spent five weeks wandering around the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. Upon nearing Mahé on the west coast of India, the captain learned that Pondicherry had been captured by the British so he decided to return to Isle de France. Le Gentil had no choice but to remain on board for the return trip. On the day of transit, Le Gentil was on board ship and unable to make accurate observations on the rolling deck.  Rather than return to France, Le Gentil decided to stay in the Indian Ocean until the next transit in 1769 and “to make all observations I could on geography, natural history, physics, astronomy, navigation, winds and tides.” This he did for a few years. In 1766, he decided that Manila in the Philippines would be the ideal spot to observe the transit so on May 1, he sailed for Manila and arrived in August. The Spanish governor of Manila was suspicious and antagonistic towards Le Gentil. Learning that Pondicherry was in French hands again, Le Gentil escaped on a Portuguese ship. On his arrival in Pondicherry on March 27, 1768, the governor welcomed him with a feast, and the next day invited him to select a location for his observatory. Le Gentil selected a palace that has been partially destroyed by the British and was now used as a powder magazine. While waiting for the June 4, 1769 transit, he prepared his observatory and studied Indian astronomy.  On the eve of the transit, the sky was perfectly clear and Le Gentil entertained the governor with views of Jupiter’s satellites. Everything appeared favorable for observing the transit the next day. Awakening during the night, Le Gentil was dismayed that the sky was overcast. He wrote “… I felt doomed, I threw myself on the bed, without being able to close my eyes.” Instead of clearing, a storm blew in bringing thicker clouds completely obscuring the Sun for the duration of the transit. Immediately after, the skies cleared and the Sun shone for the rest of the day...   And to add insult to injury, the skies were clear in Manila that day!  Le Gentil fell into a funk for several weeks and contracted dysentery, which delayed his return to France. Still sick, he embarked in March 1770 for home, but was forced to convalesce at the Isle de France. By July he was ready to continue his journey, but could not obtain passage until November. A hurricane damaged his ship and Le Gentil was forced to return to Isle de France again, where he received news that his heirs presumed him dead and were trying to divide his estate. On March 31, 1771, he left Isle de France for the last time and endured a stormy trip to Cadiz in Spain. Traveling overland, he reached French soil on October 8, 1771; eleven years, six months and thirteen days after setting out.  But that is not all! Upon returning home, he found his heirs fighting over his estate, funds entrusted to his agent missing, eight crates of specimens collected on his journey missing, and his seat in the Academy lost. His seat was eventually restored, but he could not recoup the lost funds or locate the missing specimens"

Meme - Ryan George: "If a movie character gets shot HERE, they're required to keep it to themselves for a while. Later in the movie, they must open their shirt/jacket revealing an alarming amount of blood-- followed by another character saying "you're hurt!" This is law. *stomach*"

Left Bank by Agnès Poirier – existentialism, jazz and the miracle of Paris in the 1940s - "In August 1943, the sales team at Gallimard noticed something odd. The publisher’s new 700-page philosophical tome was selling unexpectedly well. Was it because Jean-Paul Sartre’s thoughts on freedom and responsibility in Being and Nothingness resonated with Parisians enduring Nazi occupation? Not quite. It was because the book weighed exactly one kilogram and so was a perfect substitute for copper weights, which had been sold on the black market or melted down for ammunition... In one of my favourite moments Simone de Beauvoir pauses on the Pont Neuf after a nuit blanche of drinking with Sartre, Arthur Koestler and Albert Camus. Looking sadly into the Seine, she sobs over the tragedy of the human condition. “I do not understand why we do not throw ourselves into the water!” she wails to Sartre who, also crying, replies: “Well, let’s do it!” It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.  But what is the human condition? Sartre defined it shortly after the liberation. “We were never freer,” he wrote, “than during the German occupation. Since the Nazi venom was poisoning our very own thinking, our every free thought was a victory. The circumstances, often atrocious, of our fight allowed us to live openly this torn and unbearable situation one calls the Human Condition.” But, Poirier points out, that freedom was dubiously won. De Beauvoir signed a form denying she was Jewish so she could continue teaching in occupied Paris. While she and Sartre were never freer, Parisian Jews were being rounded up by Parisian cops and murdered in Nazi death camps... Celebrity collaborators, too, in on-trend if unwitting existentialist fashion, defined their moral characters through what they did rather than what they thought – and later came up with shameless rationalisations. Arletty, star of Marcel Carné’s film Les Enfants du Paradis, justified sleeping with the enemy by mapping her body as semi-autonomous regions. “My heart is French, but my arse is international,” she said. During interrogation by the resistance, actor and playwright Sacha Guitry was asked: “Why did you have dinner with Hermann Göring?” “Out of curiosity,” he witlessly replied. Poirier, though, risks soft pedalling these evasions and self-delusions since, ardent Parisienne that she is, she wants to tell a love story. In her narrative, everyone who is creatively or intellectually anyone is seduced by Paris. Her enviable cast of characters – not just existentialist philosophers but Samuel Beckett, Alberto Giacometti, Juliette Greco, Jean Cocteau, Simone Signoret, and wave after wave of oversexed, overpaid Americans – are libidinous multi-taskers, overturning bourgeois norms while philosophising, be-bopping, pill-popping and bed-hopping... Mailer was one of many Americans bankrolled by the fabulous-sounding GI Bill. That legislation, so far as I understand it, paid for veterans to return to Paris, learn French and get laid.

Uri Kurlianchik on X - "According to the New Testament, the Jews didn't crucify Jesus. The Romans did. If you want to harass someone about it, go ask a random Italian why he killed Jesus."
Giovanni on X - "I'm Italian... Where do you think a religion based on guilt came from...."

John Arnold on X - "Houston has bad weather, no natural beauty, and little history. But that’s a feature, not a bug. It means government has to be responsive to the people to create a place people and businesses want to locate. It must be efficient with taxpayer money and consider tradeoffs. It must create an ecosystem that leads to a high quality of life for its residents. Lose this focus and the city fails. There is no presumption that residents must acquiesce to the city; the city must work for the residents. Turns out there’s great demand for this concept: the city has gone from the from the 45th largest in the US to the 4th largest in 100 years. It's a simple concept but one I find wanting in many legacy cities with more natural advantages."

Brooks Otterlake on X - "Just learned that in the French-Canadian dub of this scene the policeman can't understand a word Bart is saying because of his Québécois accent"

The Suffering Behind ‘Humane,’ Organic Milk - The Atlantic - "Former employees said that sick cows were regularly denied antibiotics for mastitis and hoof infections, at least in part to maintain their milk as organic—a charge corroborated by an Alexandre farm worker not involved in the report. (Once a cow is given antibiotics, her milk must be sold as conventional for the duration of her life.) The farm has “natural” treatments that “allow us to not need synthetic antibiotics,” Vanessa Nunes, Blake and Stephanie’s daughter and a dairy manager at the operation, told me. “We don’t need to give an antibiotic for mastitis. We have a tincture that we’ll use.” (Mastitis can be debilitating when not treated with antibiotics.)  Whistleblowers also said cows with infections had their eyes packed with salt and had denim patches glued to their skulls. The farm responded that cows with pink eye were treated using a saline solution with cod-liver oil, and sometimes with apple cider vinegar. The farm said that the denim patch was a “gold standard” method to cure pink eye. Jim Reynolds, a large-animal veterinarian, told me that salt would be “horrible” to use in any animal’s eye and that patches had no medical benefit, and could worsen an infection by trapping dirt and irritating the eye. “I don’t know that it’s been recommended since the 1980s,” he said. He told me that the farm’s treatment for eye infections was “nonsense.”"
Clearly, organic is superior and the environment must be "protected" (even though the yield is lower, so it needs more land)

How A Georgia Teacher Won $10,000 By Reading The Fine Print - "Donelan Andrews is a high school teacher from Georgia. And she won $10,000 when she found a few words hidden in the text of a travel insurance policy. That section of the fine print was part of a contest run by the Florida-based insurance company Squaremouth... When I got the contract, I printed it off and decided, certainly, to read the contract because I always read contracts and noticed this fabulous paragraph on the seventh page. In bold letters, it said, Pays to Read. And then the paragraph began to explain that they have a contest going on and that if I had actually read that far in the contract, I was one of maybe 1 percent - I think it said - of people who actually read contracts. And they wanted to change that. And so they were running a contest to actually win $10,000. And it certainly got my attention...  I didn't think it was a hoax because, frankly, it reminded me of when I was a classroom teacher and would prepare tests for my students. I would always have directions on the first page of the tests, and I would usually hide something similar - not that they'd win money, but maybe they could get 10 bonus points if they circled the number 10 on Page 2 of the test or something... Part of the Squaremouth campaign was that they were going to donate $10,000 to the Reading is Fundamental company, which is a nonprofit that donates books to elementary and primary schools.  And in addition to that, once they found out I was a teacher and very passionate about my job, they added another $10,000 - $5,000 to each of the high schools where I teach - donating that directly to the libraries at the schools. And you better believe those media specialists are my new best friends."

wanye on X - "Regular people mostly conceive of "science" as an authoritative body of experts who make rulings like in a court of law. You can *really* see this in the way they reference studies. A study is to normal people a *ruling* on a matter. They aren't interested in thinking through the logic of the argument, or weighing the finding against anything like bayesian priors, or considering study design. What they know is that a decision has been reached.  To somebody who is *actually* science-minded a study is an argument to be evaluated and discussed. To the public a study is a ruling. To me the replication crisis is the most easily-explained thing in the world. Science is really hard, almost nobody is actually good at it, and the vast majority of even-genuinely-smart people are not capable of designing a study that reveals anything novel."
Aaron Krol on X - "scientists are the modern priestly caste. Treated as an authority figure rather than "guy who ran an experiment""
whalebiologist1 on X - "It's been a great amusement to me that we've replaced "absolute trust of people in robes" with "absolute trust of people in lab coats" and are convinced this is a great advancement."
The scientismists are going to be very upset, because they fucking love science

Kevin Bass PhD MS on X - "Throughout my childhood and early adulthood it always felt like the liberals were better informed, smarter, and more knowledgeable, while the conservatives were just fuddy duddy defenders of the status quo. Now it feels the exact opposite. Did I change or did America change?"
Deep Squats, Shallow Thoughts on X - "The avg liberal is still smarter than the avg conservative, but almost no one comes to beliefs based on thorough research, they rely on sensemaking institutions. Liberals slightly higher avg IQ is no match for the feelings of moral superiority and tribal cohesion they get from continuing to use the captured and deranged institutions like the NYT, CDC, etc to get their sensemaking."

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